On moving day. What does it feel like to move into a cohousing home you’ve been building for years? Exciting! The movers were friendly and right on time and carried all my boxes and furniture down three flights of stairs to the waiting truck. As the rental apartment I was leaving slowly emptied out, I had worried that I might feel sad to leave, but instead I was giddy with anticipation. When I arrived in my car at my new home, there was small group of cohousing friends there to greet me with open arms, feed me snacks, hold the front doors open, and watch the movers unpacking my belongings! My movers pulled up and I was officially moving in. We learned that the elevator was on emergency power due to a partial power outage at our new building, but at least it was working, unlike the day before.
The last nails are being hammered in. Fresh paint still clings to the damp air. In Port Townsend, Washington, residents of the newly-built Quimper Village Senior Cohousing eagerly await moving into the neighborhood that they co-designed. The neighborhood that not only symbolizes their desire to take an active role in their aging scenario, but also their commitment to supporting, listening to, and living in community with each other.
Cohousing communities, ecovillages, co-ops, and other Intentional communities of all kinds are a response to problems in society. They are a recognition that some of the essentials that make community what it us, mutual support, love and caring, sharing lives and livelihood in a meaningful and satisfying way, are lacking in the world. Not all intentional communities share the same political or social views. Some mirror the trend towards isolationism and protectionism we see politics today.
In my younger days, I would backpack into the wilderness to set up camp; then we had kids and began ‘car’ camping; we progressed to a Wildernest camper; our kids got bigger and we upgraded to a small hard sided camper; we missed sleeping outdoors, but our bodies are getting too old to sleep on the ground, so at this stage in our life, we are camping in a pull behind pop-up camper.
Loneliness doesn't always stem from being alone. For architect Grace Kim, loneliness is a function of how socially connected we feel to the people around us -- and it's often the result of the homes we live in. She shares an age-old antidote to isolation: cohousing, a way of living where people choose to share space with their neighbors, get to know them, and look after them. Rethink your home and how you live in it with this eye-opening talk.
There are many of you that I do not yet know and this is a personal story, but I feel comfortable sharing because we are in community, so each one of you is like my distant second cousin three times removed :)
What a fantastic week I have had! I was fortunate enough to have visited Eastern Village and Takoma Village in DC (where I enjoyed Bruce’s Cuban Beans). I experienced a ‘near record breaking’ heatwave in the city, ugh. I ate blueberries at Blueberry Village, then enjoyed lunch with Liberty Village. I was educated by Bill on the wastewater filtration system created at Hundredfold Farm. I spent time with Sky at Twin Oaks Intentional Community as they prepared for their 50 year anniversary celebration.
As the incoming Executive Director, I’ll be spending time with Alice Alexander to make this transition as smooth as possible and since I’ll be back east to see her, I decided to see some more people! Today I’ll be flying from Colorado to DC, driving through five different states then flying home from North Carolina. I will have the opportunity to meet with Bill Hartzell and Ann Zabaldo who have been a big part of CoHoUS and cohousing in general. I also get to spend time with the current CoHoUS president Peter Lazar and of course with the outgoing executive director Alice Alexander.